Quote of the Day

by Jiddu Krishnamurti

Question: Modern life has become abjectly dependent on highly trained persons; what are your views on university education? How can we prevent the misuse of higher technical knowledge?

Krishnamurti: Sir, surely it all depends on for what you are being educated. If you are merely being educated to a particular specialized job through university education in which there is no consideration of the total process of existence - which is love, concern for your neighbor, the problem of what is truth, death, envy, the whole problem of life - if you are only concerned with the acquisition of a particular type of knowledge, and not with the problem of life, then obviously you are creating a world of confusion, of darkness, of misery; and then you ask how that can be prevented.

Now, how are you going to prevent it, sirs? How are you and I going to prevent it? Sirs, is it not your responsibility? Or do you say, "It is our karma, we do what we can to live, but life is too much for us," and leave it at that? Do you not feel this is your responsibility? As parents, do you not feel that the darkness is closing in, deterioration is setting in fast in every human being? Do you not feel that we have ceased to be really creative? Merely painting pictures or being trained to paint them or writing a poem occasionally is not what I mean by creativity. Creativity is something entirely different, and it comes into being when there is no concern or fear of oneself clothed in the form of virtue, or concern for oneself socially, economically, politically. When that concern, that fear ceases, there is creativity.

The understanding of the whole process of thought which builds the 'I', the 'me', and the dissolution of that - is not that true education? And if it is, should not universities help towards that end and at the same time give students the right opportunity to cultivate capacities? But now, we are concerned with the cultivation of capacities, gifts, tendencies to become more and more efficient, and we deny the whole of life which is much deeper, truer, more complex. So it is your responsibility, is it not? Sirs, the individual problem is the world problem. Your problem is the problem of the world. Those problems are not separate from your daily problems. How you live, how you think, what you do will create the world or destroy the world. We do not realize this. We do not see this responsibility, and so we say, "Technical knowledge is bringing about the destruction of man; how can that be prevented?" I will give you the explanation, the manner of doing it, and you will listen and go away, and carry on as usual. So explanations no longer matter; descriptions of theories have no value any more; what is of importance now is that you, as an individual, understand and become responsible for your actions. You are responsible. You and others can, with equal enthusiasm and interest, create a new world. You are to think of the problem anew, not create a new pattern - communist or another religious form.

Real revolution does not come merely at the superficial level, at the economic level. Real revolution lies in our hearts and minds, and it can only come when we understand the whole total process of our being from day to day, in every relationship. And then only is there a possibility of preventing technical knowledge being used for the destruction of man.

On Freedom
31st January 1953, Third Talk in Poona, India